Days of Change

Escalation

January 18, 2017
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In the real world, a state that makes gun ownership legal and fairly easy has less gun crime than a state or city that restricts or bans guns. In liberal world, gun grabbing cities blame the states around them for letting guns in. Countries that ban guns entirely have less gun crime, but the crimes (and suicides) are committed with different weapons and can be more gory and violent.

States with open carry and allowances for guns in bars and even schools don’t see random shootings over petty disagreements. Even hotheads know that if other people around them have guns, firing one off in anger could lead to hot lead between their eyes. Mutually assured destruction is scary because it requires that most of the principles be sane, but it works pretty well.

There are two things about a Trump administration that worry me. One is that Trump and his supporters will continue to seek revenge on their enemies under the belief that they can’t retaliate. The other is that Trump and his supporters will continue to seek revenge on their detractors who are conservatives, Republicans, potential allies or all of the above.

The Trump jobs program currently consists of offering tax breaks to businesses that create US jobs and threatening companies that move jobs. Once in power, Trump will have to deliver on promises or threats and the GOP is already unwilling to impose tariffs. Trump can take his case directly to the people, but only 46% of the ones who voted picked him. If three Republican senators out of the half dozen who have axes to grind decide to take Trump on, the Donald may actually learn the art of the deal.

Then there’s his biggest enemy, the press. The media generally tried to get Hillary Clinton elected. If Russian hacking of e-mail and distribution of fake news did anything, it was to level the playing field. However, Trump won’t have Hillary Clinton to kick around anymore. She isn’t the alternative is Trump screws up. The people who picked Trump because they hated him less that Hillary could sour quickly if he doesn’t deliver on whatever they perceive to be his mandate. Even if the media is “against” Donald Trump, the people who are unwaveringly pro-Trump make up less than 40% of the population.

The potential with a combative Trump administration is a preference cascade. Trump attempts to change the law, the media point out problems, and House and Senate members start to fear voter backlash generated by the media instead of by Trump. Anti-Trump Republicans didn’t do that bad in 2016. If Trump can’t rule them by fear, he may not have a whole lot else. Then the media reports his failures and unwillingness to compromise and suddenly Trump is reduced to a meat puppet controlled by the GOP until the next presidential election. Or the Democrats take the Senate in 2018.

The good news for me is that the Democrats can’t do any damage. I’m just wondering if the Republicans can get anything done.


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Dude, Just Stop

January 15, 2017
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This probably won’t  be the last time Republicans will feel this way during a Trump presidency.

 


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Fair Game

January 13, 2017
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How could the media fight Donald Trump?

Become more conservative.

The first time I described Donald Trump on a blog, I used the term “dirtbag” in connection with a new NBC show called The Apprentice back in 2005. The first time I commented on Trump as a candidate, I referred to him as “glib.” I was a Scott Walker fan at the time. Walker was interesting in that he wasn’t a gifted orator, whatever the hell that really means, but was an effective administrator. Unfortunately, glib gets people the job of president in the modern era.

My problem with Trump is that he took shallow, meaningless statements to a level where they don’t even make sense, then attacked people based on how effective their burn was on him, rather than how effective his rebuke would be politically. He almost perfectly embodies the prototype of the strongman, a leader who rules by abuse and fear.

I’ve been watching Leah Remini’s series about Scientology and the tactics they use. I’ve been reading about this strange and cruel organization for decades. One strategy going back to L. Ron Hubbard’s leadership is “fair game.” This is where people who are publicly critical of Scientology are subject to the most extreme harassment and gaslighting because they became fair game. They range from lawfare to actually having people befriend the target and then report back to Scientology.

Most of the Alt-Right can be distilled down to people who want to take the fight to liberals. Most of the time, this means calling them out. The problem is that media saturation is not an effective strategy to win hearts and minds. It only serves to make people combative all the time. I tend to prefer living well as the best revenge, or at least proving your policies right to be the best revenge.

Donald Trump has made a life out of living well and making sure everyone know how well he lives. He also makes sure anyone who doesn’t like what he does gets an earful of why they suck and he’s better than they are. He’s like every other egomaniac. He seems to be a man of the people because he likes worship. He’s Barack Obama with a different career path.

Either Trump will engage in a weird form of populism that will hurt the free market, or he will fail to deliver on the protectionist strategies that his supporters swear will happen. His opponents are the entire left and libertarian-leaning conservatives. If the left continues to use Trump to vilify conservatives, Trump can maintain his support for the next 4 years. However, if the liberal media finds ways to attack the Trump agenda on conservative grounds, it would form an anti-Trump coalition that is already 54% of the voting population.

Plus, the media will be better for the additional intellectual diversity.


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These Are the Good Days

January 8, 2017
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This week has been especially entertaining for the Trump skeptic. Some of us didn’t warm to the argument that we should vote for Trump because Hillary Clinton is worse because the argument was made by people who would watch Trump strangle a puppy and be certain the puppy had done some evil stuff to deserve that. There are problems with Trump, regardless of how not Hillary he is, and he’s not going to change unless people stop liking him when he does bad things.

In the waning days of the Obama regime, the intelligence community is full-on leaking details of a Russian plot to gaslight Clinton with embarrassing campaign e-mails and widely distributed stories about her having any number of debilitating ailments and murder victims. The two-pronged Trump attack has been that the Russians 1)didn’t change any ballots and 2)didn’t hack any e-mails.

On the e-mail front, the Trump media is relying on Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who was pretty unpopular with most conservatives a few years ago. Sean Hannity not only changed his mind, but flew to the embassy where Assange has been holed up for years and apologized for ever doubting him. Sarah Palin even apologized and Wikileaks published her hacked e-mails.

back when Putin was making Obama look useless, it was funny to comment about how strong and powerful Putin was. However, Putin is a monster. Recently, an investigation showed that FSB whistle blower Alexander Litvinenko was not killed in a singularly horrible fashion for revealing political secrets about Putin, but for bringing up Putin’s sexual interest in young boys.

Like Putin, Donald Trump is at his most reactive when personal invective are used, much like the way I described Putin and other dictators 6 years ago. Also, like 6 years ago, I can still write the same things about Julian Assange and his Polanski-esque escape. It is fully possible that the Russians told lies and distributed truth about the Clinton campaign to help Donald Trump. It’s basically what the Right has been accusing George Soros of for years. Does that reality hurt Donald Trump? t might, but he’s till president and he would have to earn America’s respect either way.

Right now, we’re running out of principled people to hold him accountable.


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The Courts

January 3, 2017
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Of the big automakers, Ford is jumping on the Trump bandwagon, using this new “Made in America” fervor to announce a new plant in the US. GM went the other way, getting the wrath of Donald Trump for building one version (making up 3%) of a domestic auto line in Mexico. As Trump keeps poking at businesses over manufacturing outside of the US, some are going to poke back.

Unlike Reagan, who had the House for 0 years of his presidency, Trump starts out with a Congress that is willing to work with him when it suits them. There’s also a good chance that he will have a Supreme Court justice at some point, even though the Democrats did leave filibustering on the table for that confirmation. How will the courts deal with a Trump agenda?

Name someone Donald Trump has backed down from. How about Judge Gonzalo Curiel? After a brief burst about Curiel being biased against him in the Trump University case and some blow back in the press, Trump said he would not comment on the judge further. After the election, a settlement of around $25 million was offered. Judges have wide discretion and getting on one’s bad side can put you in serious jeopardy. Just look at Trump’s former Apprentice colleague, Martha Stewart.

Replacing Antonin Scalia cannot possibly make SCOTUS any more conservative than when he was on the court. Many of the Circuit Courts are still pretty liberal and new administration plans could be blocked for years to come. Unlike Trump’s lawsuits with people having far less net worth, he’ll face legislators with power and experience. Washington requires a whole new art of the deal.


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The Cult of Celebrities

January 1, 2017
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It was not surprising that Donald Trump could not get the caliber of celebrities he wanted for the Republican Convention. It’s a partisan event, and only the country music community is immune from backlash. The more noticeable snub is the lack of any entertainers performing at the Inauguration. This event is national, the celebration of a new presidential administration.

Aside from Trump’s likely extemporaneous address, the country will be entertained by The Rockettes, (who choose to sign up) the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (at least the ones who didn’t resign) and Jackie Evancho, whose parents who put her on stage at 8 years old.

This phenomenon was addressed in a Daily Beast article by MSNBC seat filler Joy-Ann Reid. The premise that Donald Trump is obsessed with power and celebrity has some merit as he spent decades getting his picture taken with all sorts of famous people.

Screen-Shot-2016-06-10-at-2.02.19-PM

The amusing part of the opinion piece is how Reid praises Hollywood and the entertainment industry for social pioneering of progressive ideas and points out that celebrities are taking a stand against Trump, who is apparently the most evil president in history, at least since the last Republican.

First of all, the entertainment industry is highly resistant to employment laws. Besides keeping out ugly people, certain racial types and hiring the same actors over and over, the industry has successfully blackballed actors and musicians who are not publicly liberal enough. One can imagine that anyone who wanted to perform at the Inaugural would either be harassed by their colleagues or stop getting calls for future work.

Second, the boycott of liberal Hollywood against Trumpism is self-defeating. Choosing not to go to a Trump event is your right. Going on social media and lib-slpaining that Donald Trump is a monster who is going to be the next Hitler is a great way to be remembered by the people who won’t buy tickets to your next movie. If the 46% of people who voted for Trump (or the 52% who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton) are constantly berated by the people who are supposed to be entertaining them, they’ll find other sources.

In 2014, God’s Not Dead made $60 million in theaters on a shoestring budget. It featured two actors who found work drying up after they became conservative. The alternatives are out there. Unlike Trump’s gold-plated everything, celebrity can tarnish.


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More Posts in 2017

December 31, 2016
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That’s right. I will post at least twice in 2017.

Happy New Year.


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A Day When Nobody (that famous) Died

December 30, 2016
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And now, Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite band


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For the Future

December 29, 2016
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Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.

-Plan 9 From Outer Space

A post at Ace of Spades brought up something I’ve been thinking about for a while. In a sense, I’m not that worried about President Donald Trump. We’ve had bad presidents before. One is leaving in 22 days. I am worried about the fact that conservatism, especially of moral direction, is as much in the woods as it was during the Carter administration before social conservatives joined the Reagan coalition. They became Republicans by default, but what that means now is less clear.

Conservatism, by its very name, is accused of being stuck in the past. I prefer to think of it as following a sort of natural law. The best example is capitalism, where people buy things because they need and want them and work because they need purchasing power. In the case of something like gay marriage, marriage has evolved, but sexuality hasn’t. Modern society is the force categorizing people, then opening up pathways as if they need government permission to be different.

The new flavor of conservatism is the alt-right. Their principles are as well defined as the tea party and their tactics are a version of the liberals we’ve despised for decades. The post above mentions that the alt-right seems to long for a day in the past where both sides were civil. I guess they don’t know about the reason for the first change to the Electoral College.

Donald Trump’s election was a throwback, where he plans to “save” the jobs of factory workers who make things that will become unprofitable to make. He also plans to eschew the Cold War for the Barbary Wars. He appealed to the older voters who lost their coal jobs to Obama. The bad news is that while young people voted Democrat, those new voters the alt-right said were going to go for Trump actually went to Clinton.

Of course, Democrats constantly say that young people and Mexicans are going to eliminate the Republican Party. I happen to think the Democrats will eliminate themselves. The GOP can help destroy themselves if they run on a platform of turning America’s clock back.


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Is This Actually Happening?

December 28, 2016
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Debbie Reynolds, actress and mother of Carrie Fisher, dead at 84.

Three more days.


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